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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 May, 2003, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Man Utd clinch title
Man Utd boss Alex Ferguson
United collected their eighth title without playing

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insisted his side's eighth Premiership title was the greatest triumph of his career.

United were crowned champions when Arsenal lost at home to Leeds United at Highbury on Sunday.

And Ferguson paid tribute to the total belief of his players, who never gave up the chase despite falling eight points adrift at one stage.

"It's fantastic - a great achievement by the team," Ferguson said from his home on Sunday.

"We were up against a terrific side but we showed perseverance and determination allied to a great ability.

"We never gave up. That's what won us the title."

Goals from Harry Kewell, Ian Harte and Mark Viduka secured Leeds victory at Highbury, where Arsenal twice responded through Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.

But Ferguson insisted he kept his promise of not watching the game, prefering to attend his grandson's birthday party.

"The first I knew of the score was when a friend phoned to tell me Leeds had gone 3-2 up.

"He told me there were two minutes plus injury time left and I turned the phone off again."

Manchester United, who trailed the Gunners by eight points as recently as March, had heaped the pressure on Arsene Wenger's side by beating Charlton 4-1 on Saturday.

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored a hat-trick for Ferguson's side, who are champions again after going without silverware last season.

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It is the eighth title in 11 years for United, who travel to Everton for their final game of the season.

But Ferguson insists they must now progress to even greater heights.

"We have got to get the Champions League again.

"For a team like Manchester United, winning the trophy twice is simply not enough."

Arsenal now play Southampton before finishing their league campaign with a trip to Sunderland, but the FA Cup final represents their last chance for a trophy this season.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said: "I'm very proud of the behaviour and attitude of the boys.

"It's a bit early to say what went wrong but I believe we did not have the defensive stability we used to have and when we went out of the Champions League we did not have the same flow afterwards."

They face Southampton at Cardiff on 17 May.




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